Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis continue to fight for parents’ rights

Florida – The ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is actual again.
The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday that a Tallahassee judge should not have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban.
The state could resume its efforts to impose financial penalties on the 13 school boards currently defying the mask mandate ban. Those have included docking salaries of local school board members who voted to impose student mask mandates.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, Thursday it has begun a new grant program to provide funding for school districts in Florida and elsewhere that lose money for implementing anti-coronavirus practices such as mandatory masks.
“The rule requiring ALL Florida school districts to protect parents’ rights to make choices about masking kids is BACK in effect!”, DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw said in a tweet.
DeSantis has argued that the new Parents Bill of Rights law reserves solely for parents the authority to determine whether their children should wear a mask to school. School districts with mandatory mask rules allow an opt-out only for medical reasons, not parental discretion.
According to Charles Gallagher, attorney for parents challenging the DeSantis ban, he is “disappointed” by the appeals court decision.
“With a stay in place, students, parents and teachers are back in harm’s way,” Gallagher said in a tweet.
The legal battles stem from a lawsuit filed by parents represented by Gallagher and other lawyers contending that DeSantis does not have authority to order local school boards to ban mask mandates. Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper agreed in an Aug. 27 order, then on Wednesday lifted a stay that had blocked his ruling from taking effect. The appeals court now has put that stay back in place as the governor seeks a ruling making his mask mandate ban permanent. The appeals judges noted that a stay is presumed when a public officer or agency seeks appellate review of a judicial order.
“We have serious doubts about standing, jurisdiction, and other threshold matters,” the appeals judges wrote in a one-page decision. “Given the presumption against vacating the automatic stay, the stay should have been left in place pending appellate review.”
According to his previous order, Cooper said the overwhelming evidence is that wearing masks provides some protection for children in crowded school settings, particularly those under 12 who are not currently eligible for vaccination.
The court battle comes as Florida copes with the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus that has overrun hospitals across the state.
 

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